By Victor Ahiuma-Young
INDICATION emerged yesterday that nationâ€™s oil industry may be thrown into industrial unrest before Friday as the oil workers threatened to shut down over alleged unfair labour practices especially casualisation of workers by major oil companies in the country.
Under the umbrella ofÂ National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG,Â and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, the workers are also picking up arms because of alleged moves by the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, without stakeholdersâ€™ concerns especially the workers.
President of PENGASSAN, Mr Babatunde Ogun, who disclosed this in Lagos, warned that the upstream and the downstreamÂ sectors of the industry wouldÂ be affected once the workers down their tools and called on the appropriate government agencies and the National Assembly to address the workersâ€™ concerns to save the nation from another round of industrial unrest.
He named Shell, Chevron, Monipolo, Belbop/Conoil, among others as the major culprits and that in spite of several correspondences, the affected oil companies had refused to do the right things.
According to him, â€œwe have penciled down Shell, Chevron, Monipolo, Belbop/Conoil, and all those companies that are fond of this anti-labour practice for various industrial actions as from next week.
â€œEfforts by the unions to engage the managements of these companies in social dialogue to resolve the issues have failed.
â€œThe managements did not respond to various correspondences that the unions have sent to them. Since the managements have refused to open their doors to dialogue, the unions have no other choice than to explore other options of dispute resolutions to save the jobs of their members.â€
Comrade Ogun alleged that the multinationals were retrenching the Nigerian contract workers and bringing in more foreigners in the name of expatriates, saying:Â â€œMost of the jobs that these so-called expatriates are doing were being done by Nigerians before they were disengaged.â€